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Poster: Fact_Checker Date: Sep 20, 2009 7:23pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Death Rides a Horse'

It was said: "Wikipedia as well as a few other sites are listing it as Public Domain, Citing their sources as The US Copyright office."

These claims don't ring true. The Copyright Office has a policy of not making declarative statements like this. They'll say "no renewal found" or "no registration found," but not state definitely that a work is in the public domain. If a Copyright Office written search report says, or if Copyright Office personnel stated over the phone, that a registration could not be found for this work (or any other), they left the door open for the work not requiring registration (as when a work is covered by GATT/URAA).

If the people writing at the web sites in question are hearing or seeing "no registration found" and interpreting that as "public domain," someone needs to give them a lesson in understanding how the law works.

As for Wikipedia and its statements about public domain works, I have corrected some egregiously wrong claims there about films being in the public domain. I had at hand copies of original documentation which I made at the Copyright Office which offered conclusive evidence that the works in question had enforceable copyrights.

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Poster: mpcapital Date: Sep 20, 2009 8:13pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Death Rides a Horse'

I totally agree with you. Some people are taking this copyright thing way too far. Thanks for your great post!
Forex Investment Manager

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Poster: Fact_Checker Date: Sep 21, 2009 3:54pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Death Rides a Horse'

It may not just be that others are letting their misunderstanding influence them to believe the explanation that most supports the position that a work is in the public domain. Sometimes it seems that people are deliberately putting misinformation into Wikipedia to act as "proof" to excuse their infringements. Keeping in mind that anyone can edit Wikipedia, what is to stop someone from deliberately labeling a film as "public domain," copying it for profit, then pointing to the Wikipedia entry (which these people were careful to alter using an account that can't be traced back to them) to exonerate themselves from the charge that they didn't conduct copyright research? I don't know if this has actually happened, but there have been some suspicious titles declared to be "public domain" contrary to what these people would have found in Film Superlist and the C.O. records.